Last week, I attended the opening night of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys at the Ahmanson Theatre and it was laugh out loud funny right from the start. Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch are reuniting on the Ahmanson stage after more 30 years when they starred together on Taxi. If you were a fan of their jabs and banter in that iconic television show, you will thoroughly enjoy their hysterical vaudevillian style schtick in this adored Neil Simon comedy.
The Sunshine Boys is a heart warming story about showbiz and friendship that centers around Willie Clark (DeVito) and Al Lewis (Hirsch), former vaudevillian stars who, after a partnership of over 40 years, are no longer speaking to each other. When Clark’s nephew, Ben (the wonderfully kvetchy Justin Bartha), gets a lucrative television offer for the Lewis & Clark duo to give one final television performance, the two are lured into a grudging reunion where sparks fly, humor ensues and the skilled comedic timing and acting talent of these two affable stars totally entertains you.
I had such a fun uplifting experience watching this show, it made me smile! It brought me back to a bygone era of slapstick, physical comedy that tickles your funny bone and gives you deep belly laughs. The way these actors played off one another truly captures the vaudevillian shtick of the good old days. And seeing the seasoned acting talent of DeVito and Hirsch in real life was such a treat! Their amazing chemistry, size/physical differences and deadpan joke delivery were truly brilliant, honestly after all these years they’ve still got it!
My favorite part of the entire show was seeing how much fun these guys were having playing off of each other, their affinity for one another truly leapt off the stage. It was no surprise that when DeVito and Hirsch came to the stage for their final curtain calls, DeVito gave Hirsch a huge hug and a big smile to show how happy he was to be reunited with his Taxi co-star. It made me really appreciate the gift of watching two seasoned actors and friends share their passion and gifts with the audience.
The Sunshine Boys is playing Ahmanson Theatre 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A now through November 3, 2013. Tickets are available from $20-$115 at the box office (ticket prices are subject to change), by calling (213) 972-4400 or online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org